Children are always watching and imitating what they see their parents and other caregivers do. No matter what you say to them or around them, what you do is more significant. To lead by example, remain aware of the way you act around your child every day.
What Are You Really Showing Your Child?
Getting angry, complaining, or making negative comments teaches your child that these are appropriate ways to behave. Instead, model good behavior and lead with your example.
Implement these tips into your daily life to model positive behavior to your pre-schooler:
1. Remember that acting out your anger doesn’t solve anything. There are certainly times when showing your displeasure is appropriate, but there are ways to handle those emotions that are more productive than others. Avoid hitting, yelling, or cursing. Those are behaviors that you want to avoid encouraging in your pre-schooler.
2. It’s okay to cry or be sad about something important. However, it’s usually better to tone it down around very young children so as not to upset them. Shedding a tear or two is fine, but sobbing uncontrollably over a minor problem isn’t the kind of behavior you want your little one to model.
• Children are very receptive to their parents’ emotions and may experience intense sadness if you share yours.
3. How you live your life will shape how your child lives his. Even if you think your little one is too young to pay much attention, they notice all sorts of things. Whether you smoke or drink, what you weigh, how you eat, whether you sleep enough, and other choices become models for how to live life. Ensure your child is seeing positive behaviors to imitate.
When You’re Not There
It’s not possible to watch your child every single second. As he enters school, even pre-school, he’ll spend more time with friends. With that in mind, good examples are more important than ever. If you model good behavior, your pre-schooler will learn to make the right choices when he’s not around you – even if others do wrong.
That good behavior when you’re not there to watch over him is what you’re really looking to create. You want your pre-schooler to explore his world and learn how to eventually live his own life. While he’s growing up, though, it’s important that you guide him and show him the right path. If you model this clearly and consistently, you’ll have less to fear as he grows up.
Children who see their parents doing the right things grow up learning to do the right things. They make good choices – generally – even when their parents aren’t around to watch them. By leading by example, you also don’t put as many rules and restrictions on your child. You also avoid forcing them to do a lot of things that you can’t or won’t do, which can breed resentment.
Children who grow up with too many restrictions often rebel, and that’s not what you want to see happen as your pre-schooler gets older. Instead, limit rules to ones that you both follow willingly. Your pre-schooler will be proud to emulate you, and you’ll raise a child who can safely find his own way in the world.